In an exclusive interview with TalkBasket.net, Kyle Hines talked about being the captain of CSKA Moscow, the EuroLeague, ELPA and more.
Here is what the three-time EuroLeague champion said:
On becoming the captain of CSKA Moscow: “It’s a tremendous honour to be the captain of such a historic club. Taking on this responsibility is a great honour for me. I am looking forward to helping my teammates win titles and, at the same time, I want to become a better leader.”
On whether this adds more pressure to him: “No, I don’t think so. There is a little bit more pressure, as we fight to win all titles. But, the other guys know who I am, because we have been playing together for so many years.”
On CSKA’s preparation during the off-season: “We had some up and down periods, as we didn’t have our full team, due to the FIBA WC Qualifiers. Many key players had to leave the training camp and that was a step-back. Many EuroLeague teams had the same problem.
Pre-season was ok, though. We had some new players come in, so we had to help them adjust to the squad’s playing style and tactics.”
On if the club is ready for the new season: “Yes, we had some strong practices last week and we claimed some big wins in Gomelsky Cup. We have our full team back now, so we are ready.
Everybody is motivated, they are excited for the new season. We have a difficult schedule ahead, it’s a big test for us, but we are motivated to win all titles.”
On his preparation during the off-season: “Pre-season was different for me. I tore my meniscus towards the end of last season and had surgery in June. I spent the majority of pre-season trying to recover from this. But, it gave me the opportunity to understand what I had to do and worked on my body in order to avoid any new injuries.
Now, I am recovered. It takes 3-4 months to be 100%. I am ready for the new season. I have been playing regularly during the pre-season.”
On the EuroLeague teams: “The EuroLeague is a lot more balanced this season. Many teams have made changes to their roster, but have created strong teams. So, the league will be even more competitive than last season.
Many teams will need more time to adjust, due to the changes they made. It will be a great year for the competition and the fans.”
On the changes CSKA made to their roster: “We replaced two legends, Victor Khryapa and Vitaly Fridzon. They have done so many things for the team and Russian basketball. It’s not easy to replace them. However, the administration did an excellent job.
We have a roster that everybody can contribute, everybody can make the difference. Each one of the additions has their own strengths (defence, great shooting, rebounding, etc).”
On Joel Bolomboy: “He will need some time to adjust. The NBA and G-League are a lot different compared to the EuroLeague. He is incredibly athletic and talented. His basketball maturity will help him a lot.
But, there are many players in the roster that have the experience to help him learn more quickly. This is the perfect place for him and, at the same time, he is perfect for us, as he can do many things on the floor.”
On the EuroLeague Players Association: “It’s going really well. We have taken tremendous steps. There is a lot of support from the EuroLeague organisation, the players, the coaches, the media, even the NBA Players Association. I am very happy with the steps we have taken.
It will be a long process, but we work on the right direction. So far, we have worked on small things that will make the difference in the players’ lives. But, the reaction and support of the coaches and players to this project is incredible.”
On ELPA’s next steps: “We want to spread awareness about the use of the Association and gather more information on what the players need. We want to try to come together and communicate with each other.
In a long-term basis, we want to discuss with the EuroLeague and the clubs and reach an agreement.”